We sampled the Niçoise delights of Mayfair’s LPM Restaurant and Bar and found an excellent, ingredient-led kitchen that’s perfect for entertaining clients.
What is it? Formerly known as La Petite Maison, the recently rebranded LPM is the hip new iteration of the lauded restaurant that opened its doors in 2007. Serving traditional Niçoise dishes, it’s gone from an archetypal hidden gem to an international venture, with outposts in Dubai, Miami, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Riyadh. At first glance the dining room, sandwiched into a strange triangle thanks to its location on the “V” of Brook’s Mews and Avery Row, looks like your classic French fine dining room, a sea of cream (walls, banquettes, drapes) and white. But it’s brightened by splashes of vivid colour from hundreds of pieces of original art, and other little visual flourishes such as the oversized, painted pepper grinders.
Who’s responsible? Raphael Duntoye is chef patron. The former engineer spent five years at Pierre Koffman’s 3 Michelin Star La Tante Claire as well as stints as sous chef at Sketch and Zuma. He knows what he’s doing, then.
What’s it all about? The concept behind the food matches the concept behind the decor: fine dining with a relaxed twist. On each table you’ll find a tomato, a lemon and a knife, which you’re invited to slice away at, although this is as much a visual shorthand for the ‘get involved’ ethos as it is a practical suggestion (my tomato and lemon remained unsliced). The dishes are designed to be shared (quelle surprise), with a roll-call of Niçoise, Provençal and Mediterranean dishes – tapenade, salade Niçoise, pissaladière etcetera – and you can quickly order far too much food, such is the tempting nature of virtually everything on the menu.
What should I order? From simple, ingredient-led dishes such as prawns with olive oil or snails, to the more involved crab with cucumber gazpacho and various salads, the quality is exemplary. Pride has clearly been taken in the sourcing of ingredients, and chef Duntoye demonstrates commendable restraint in letting those ingredients do the talking. Mains of sea bream and sea bass were as good as anywhere on the Niçoise waterfront and the pastry chefs certainly don’t disappoint when it comes time to stress-test the size of your stomach at the end of the evening.
What about the drinks? LPM is the home of the Tomatini, which bar manager Jimmy Barrat described to City A.M. as “the spirit of the South of France in a glass”. Next month you’ll also be able to sample a new “experiential” cocktail menu in celebration of legendary French artist, writer, and bon-vivant, Jean Cocteau, to be debuted on the anniversary of his death. It promises to “bring to life La Belle Epoque through key moments of Cocteau’s life” through a series of “show stopping” cocktails. The most intriguing is the Trinity, a “levitating” cocktail inspired by Louis Cartier’s iconic ring, which was influenced by one of Cocteau’s dreams about space and the galaxy. There is, of course, also a formidable wine list to drink your way through, and an incredibly knowledgeable sommelier to guide you.
Could I bring a client? Located in a quiet mews behind Claridge’s in the heart of Mayfair, this place has ‘business lunch’ written all over it, and the combination of fancy French fine dining and relaxed atmosphere are ideal for showing off to clients.
• To reserve a table go to www.lpmrestaurants.com, call 020 7495 4774 or visit 53-54 Brook’s Mews, W1K 4EG